Building Blocks of a National Endowment

Nils Gilman, Yakov Feygin

Sovereign wealth funds have become widely-used tools to support the operations of governments as varied as Singapore, Canada, South Korea and Norway, as well as American states such as Alaska and Texas. A sovereign wealth fund is an institution that manages a National Endowment created by trade, natural resources, or government assets. The idea of a National Endowment is predicated on the principle that the government and its constituents are entitled to equity in the wealth that state institutions helped create. Moreover, the establishment of a National Endowment gives all citizens a chance to share in national wealth building, thus helping to overcome the growing division between haves and have-nots.

This white paper will examine ways of creating a National Endowment in the context of the United States economy. First, we catalog the assets available to establish a National Endowment and strategies to “acquire” them. Next, we examine a possible design of the institution that will manage these assets and the considerations that policymakers must keep in mind when legislating it into existence. Finally, we consider potential uses that proceeds from a National Endowment might be put to for the benefit of the public

While the United States provides some unique challenges for the establishment of government funds, we believe that the idea of a National Endowment is a useful way to rethink American fiscal policy. Instead of concentrating only on the liability, or debt, side of the balance sheet, policymakers should ask themselves more fundamental questions: what are the real assets of the American economy, and how they can be better put to work to provide broad benefits for everyone? We do not take a strong position on the optimal design of such a system, but instead, present a menu of choices and potential tradeoffs.

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composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.